Champions league Sweet 16 on CBS Tues/Wed
Champions League Sweet 16 action kicks in next week with games being featured on Network TV for the first time ever as the primo games will be on CBS Tues and Wed at 2:45 pm ET. Real Madrid will host PSG and the MNM line-up of Messi/Neymar and MBappe on Tuesday at 2:45 pm CBS, while Wed features Inter Milan hosting Liverpool and African Champ game finalist Mane and Mo Salah at 2:45 on Wed. A 2nd game will be played each day on Paramount plus simultaneously at 2:45 on Tues its Sporting hosting Man City and Wed its Salzburg and US MF Aaronson hosting Bayern Munich. Thrilled to have Champ League back and even more thrilled to see it on CBS Network TV!! Thurs/Fri Europa League will be featured on Paramount+ and Concacaf Champions League CCL will be on Fox Sports 1&2. (see TV schedule below)
USWNT SheBelieves Cup
The US She Believes Cup kicks off Thursday night on ESPN with the US hosting the Czech Republic at 11 pm on ESPN right after New Zealand and Iceland face-off at 8 pm on ESPN. Great to see some younger players in the mix- especially up front as Alex Morgan, Christian Press, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapino were left off in favor of youngsters Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Sophia Smith and Catarina Macario. Also into the mix is Trinity Rodman – the young player of the year in NWSL who just signed the largest ever US women’s contract. I am excited to see the mix of young and old as we face slightly lower competition in this She Believe’s Cup competition over the next couple of weeks.
USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster
GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 0), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 2), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 78)
DEFENDERS: Alana Cook (OL Reign; 4/0), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 77/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 45/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 8/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 9/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 148/2), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 63/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 199/0)
MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 87/8), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais; 108/25), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 68/18), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais; 12/3), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 33/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 22/2)
FORWARDS: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 4/2), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 67/18), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 9/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 10/1), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current; 45/14)
GK trainings starts up at Badger Field House
Back to training the CFC Goalies on Wed and Thurs evenings at Badger Field House. Noelle will be training Wed Eves 5:30-6:30 U10-U12 and 6:30-7:30 U13+. I will be training Thurs Eves 6:30 – 8 pm U12/13 6:30-7:15 U14 & Above 7:15 – 8 pm
MLS & US Men & AFCON Cup
Interesting to see the US men fell to 13th this week in the FIFA World Cup rankings – despite only losing 1 game in the last round and staying at #2 in CONCACAF above Mexico – they fell 1 spot behind them. Weird. Concacaf Champions League round of 16 kicks off this week with MLS power teams NYCFC, Seattle, New England, Montreal and Colorado all representing the MLS against Mexican, and other CCL teams. Here’s a quick breakdown on the games which start on Tuesday-Thurs night on Fox Sports 2. (see schedule below) Huge signing for the Chicago Fire – as former Liverpool start Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri has been signed from Lyon. Good to see Chicago making some changes – they play in Soldier Field now – and Shaqiri can help add some excitement to that team – to go along with their superstar young GK. Speaking of Goalkeepers – check out the GK section below for some great saves from the Aftrican Cup winning goalkeeper Mendy from Senegal and Chelsea. It was refreshing to see the response in Senegal for them winning the African Cup. Great for Senegal and Liverpool talisman Sadio Mane – who is one of the most humble and generous players in the game today. Great to see good things happening to good people! The final win over Egypt came down to PKs as Mane made his – and Mo Salah didn’t get to shoot because it was already over.
Games to Watch This Weekend
FIFA Club Cup action kicks off the big games this weekend as Champions League Champs Chelsea face Palmera’s from Brazil in the World Club Final Saturday morning on Fox Sports 2 – we’ll see if Pulisic finally gets a run off the bench – or if Chelsea and coach Tuchel are happy just scoring 1 goal a game normal lately. Surely Chelsea does not want to flop. Friday RB Leipzig and Tyler Adams host Koln at 2:30 pm on ESPN+. Saturday EPL is moved to the Peacock with the Olympics on USA – so Man United vs Southampton 7:30 am, Everton and Leeds at 10 am but then Man City will travel to Norwich City and Josh Stewart on NBC at 12:30 pm. Sunday again EPL games will be on Peacock with Burnley hosting Liverpool at 9 am, and Leicester City hosting West Ham United in a top 4 battle at 11:30 am. Italy gives us AC Milan vs Sampdoria on Paramount plus at 6:30 am and Juventus and American midfielder McKinney hosting Atalanta at 2:45 pm on Para+. Of course Champions League hits CBS Tues/Wed at 3 pm, followed by Europa League action Thurs/Fri on Para+ and She Believes Cup Action with the USWMNT starting Thurs night on ESPN.
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BIG GAMES TO WATCH
Fri, Feb 11
2:30 pm ESPN+ RBLeipzig (Adams) vs Koln
2:45 pm NBCsports.com Chelsea vs Arsenal (USA) Womens SL
3 pm beIN Sport PSG vs Rennes
3 pm ESPN+ Sevilla vs Elche
Sat, Feb 12
7:30 am Peacock Man United vs Southampton
9 am CBSSN Lazio vs Bologna
9:30 am ESPN+ Frankfort vs Wolfsburg (Brooks)
9:30 am ESPN+ Ausburg (Pepi) vs M’Gladbach (Joe Scally)
10 am Peacock Everton vs Leeds
10:!5 am EPSN+ Villareal vs Real Madrid
12 noon Paramount+ Napoli vs Inter
12:30 EPSN+ Leverkusen vs Stuttgart
11:30 am Fox Sport 2 Palmeras (Brazil) vs Chelsea Fifa Club WC FINAL
12:30 pm NBC Norwich City (Stewart) vs Man City
Sun, Feb 13
6:30 am Paramount+ AC Milan vs Sampdoria
9 am Peacock Burnley vs Liverpool
9:30 am ESPN+ Union Berlin vs Dortmund (Reyna)
11:30 am Telemundo Liecester City vs West Ham United
1 pm Univision Pumas vs Leon
2:45 pm Para+ Juve (Mckinney) vs Atalanta
3 pm ESPN+ Espanyol vs Barcelona (Dest)
Tues, Feb 15 – Champions League – Sweet 16
3 pm CBS PSG (Messi, Neymar) vs Real Madrid (Benzema, Courtuios)
3 pm Para+, Univision Sporting vs Man City
Weds, Feb 16 – Champions League – Sweet 16
3 pm CBS Inter Milan (Geroud) vs Liverpool (Mane. Salah)
3 pm Para+, Univision Salzburg (Aaronson) vs Bayern Munich
Thurs, Feb 17 – Europa + CCL
12:45 pm Para+, Univ Dortmund (Reyna) vs Rangers
12:45 pm Para+, Univ Barcelona (Dest) vs Napoli
3 pm Para+, Univ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Real Sociedad
3 pm Para+, Univ Sevilla (Musah??) vs Dinamo Zabgreb
8 pm ESPN Iceland vs New Zealand – She Believes Cup
8 pm FS2 Comunicationes FC vs Colorado Rapids CCL
10 pm FS2 CD Montagua vs Seattle Sounders CCL
11 pm ESPN USWNT vs Czech Republic – She Believes Cup
Fri, Feb 18
2:45 pm CBSSN Juventus (McKinney) vs Torino
3 pm bein Sports Lille (Weah) vs Metz
3 pm ESPN+ Mainz vs Leverkusen
9 am USA Leeds United vs Man United
9:30 am ESPN+ Dortmund (Reyna) vs Bayer MGladbach (Scally)
10:!5 am ESPN+ Valencia vs Barcelona (Dest)
3 pm ESPN+ Atletic Club vs Real Sociadad
3 pm ABC USWNT vs New Zealand – She Believes Cup
6 pm Iceland vs Czech Republic – She Believes Cup
6 pm New Zealand vs Czech Republic – She Believes Cup
9 pm ESPN USWNT vs Iceland – She Believes Cup
USA Ladies She Believes Cup Thu/Sun/Tues ESPN
Rapinoe, Morgan: U.S. Soccer ‘stood by’ as abuse occurred
USWNT players demand accountability from U.S. Soccer after more abuse allegations
Players react to abuse allegations with letter to US Soccer
Washington Spirit Sell for Record $35 Million to Michele Kang
Champions League Tues/Wed CBS
Lukaku’s Chelsea redemption tour begins in Abu Dhabi James Olley
Chelsea edge past Al Hilal, reach Club World Cup final
Palmeiras dreaming of hog heaven if they beat Chelsea at Club World Cup Tim Vickery
Who will finish fourth in the Premier League? hMark Ogden
Aston Villa vs Leeds final score: Coutinho stars in thrilling 6-goal draw
Man City go 12 points clear, Spurs stunned by Southampton
Senegal Wins African Cup
Solace for Salah in Liverpool’s experience of losing finals, says Klopp
Mane in, Salah misses ESPN’s AFCON Dream Team ed Dove
Who’s hot and who’s not in European soccer Bill Connelly
Liga MX: Club America’s Solari once again stumbles; goals galore return in Week 4 Cesar Hernandez
Atletico Madrid can’t afford a slump after Barcelona humiliation Graham Hunter
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CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying: USMNT clinching scenarios, predictions for March qualifiers
Drake Hills, Nashville Tennessean
Mon, February 7, 2022, 12:13 PM
Hostile rivalry has branded Mexico and the U.S. men’s national team since 1990. But in 2022 World Cup Qualifying, the two rivals have helped each other fend off other nations from stealing their automatic bids to the World Cup in Qatar .Three World Cup qualifiers remain. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are the top three nations in the standings. Panama is next and holding an intercontinental playoff spot, with Costa Rica behind them. Jamaica, El Salvador and Honduras are eliminated. It’s possible four CONCACAF nations will play in the World Cup, held Nov. 21- Dec. 18.CONCACAF’s final qualifying window is March 24-30. The USMNT and Mexico hold the same record ( 6-2-3, 21 points). The Americans holding the tiebreaker with a +3 goal differential.The USMNT and Mexico will face off March 24 in Mexico City at the Estadio Azteca, an infamous ground where the U.S. has never won in qualifying. If the USMNT can replicate Michael Bradley’s 50-yard Hail Mary goal from the 2017 edition and earn a draw, a win against Panama three days later should suffice.If not, here’s what the U.S. will need to qualify.
USMNT World Cup clinching scenarios
Without a win or draw at Mexico, three points and a victory against Panama at Exploria Stadium in Orlando – the USMNT’s only home qualifier in March – is a must-win, given its track record in Costa Rica. Notably, the U.S. is unbeaten at Exploria Stadium.Meanwhile, it has never won on Costa Rican soil. Not to mention, the Ticos are unbeaten in their last four qualifiers, winning three of them.Based on the result in Mexico, here’s how the U.S. can qualify.
Who’s the best in CONCACAF?: How Canada froze out the U.S. in qualifying.
The rise of Antonee ‘Jedi’ Robinson: Fullback lifts the U.S. over El Salvador.
USMNT loss at Mexico
Should the U.S. fall to Mexico, and assuming Panama beats winless, eliminated Honduras at home where it is 3-0-2 in qualifiers, the USMNT would have to win or draw vs. Panama to keep pace with Canada and now second-place Mexico and protect third place from Panama, who will now be one point behind.By March 27, predicting a Canada-Costa Rica draw on March 24, the top 5 could read as follows: Canada (7-0-5, 26 points); Mexico (7-2-3, 24 points); USMNT (6-3-3, 21 points); Panama (6-4-2, 20 points); Costa Rica (4-3-5, 17 points).Then on March 30, the U.S. would need at least a draw at Costa Rica and hope Canada can scrape the same result at Panama.
USMNT draw at Mexico
If the USMNT can snag just its third positive result in history against Mexico at the Azteca, it would please both nations by preserving the order of the top three as it stands in February, regardless of what Panama does against Honduras and likewise Costa Rica at Canada.Mexico and the U.S. would have 22 points apiece (6-2-4). Panama, at best, would have 20 (6-4-2) and Costa Rica, 19 (5-3-4).All the Americans would have to do is avoid a loss against Panama. A win against them, in fact, will secure the U.S. a spot at the World Cup with a qualifier to spare.
USMNT win at Mexico
An unprecedented road win over Mexico is a reason to celebrate alone. But the USMNT could then exchange a tie against Panama with a ticket to Qatar, with 25 points (7-2-4) in the standings.Regardless of how Panama and Canada would play out on March 30, Panama would mathematically be too far behind to breach the top three because even if it beats Honduras on March 24, a draw against the U.S. would leave Panama with 21 points heading into the final day. Its new focus would be staying ahead of Costa Rica.
World Cup Qualifying: March predictions
Canada will finish atop the CONCACAF octagonal unbeaten with a 8-0-6 record (29 points), becoming just the second nation since the hexagonal era began in 1998 to matriculate through CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying without a loss (Mexico, 1998).The last time Canada finished atop World Cup Qualifying was 1986, its only World Cup appearance.Mexico (8-2-4 record, 28 points) will finish second, defeating El Salvador, Honduras and tying with the U.S.The USMNT redeems its failure to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 by posting a 7-3-4 record (25 points) – losing to Mexico, beating Panama and tying with Costa Rica – good enough for the final spot and a ticket to Qatar. Panama holds onto fourth by one point (6-4-2, 21 points) over Costa Rica. Panama will beat Honduras, lose to the U.S. and tie with Canada, followed by a win over likely Oceanic representative, New Zealand in June’s intercontinental playoff to qualify for the World Cup.
Road to Qatar 2022: Six key facts that could help, hurt the USMNT to qualify.
For stories about Nashville SC or Soccer in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at DHills@gannett.com. Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.
Champions League redraw reaction: Predictions as Real Madrid get PSG, Atletico Madrid face Man United
Dec 13, 2021Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC
Paris Saint-Germain must win the Champions League the hard way after being paired with Real Madrid in the redrawn round of 16 on Monday, following a software error that led to the initial draw — which had PSG facing Manchester United — being declared void by UEFA.PSG, still attempting to win the Champions League for the first time, will face 13-time winners Real over two legs next February and March in the tie of the round. And although the second draw saw them avoid a clash with Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG and a Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo head-to-head, United fared little better in the redraw, landing Spanish champions Atletico Madrid for the first meeting between the two clubs in the competition.But while PSG vs. Real and Atletico vs. Man United stand out as the most eye-catching ties of the round of 16, Liverpool‘s encounter with Inter Milan is a much tougher task for Jurgen Klopp’s team than their initial pairing with FC Salzburg.With the controversy of the voided draw now resolved by the second draw, the leading contenders to win this season’s Champions League can now start to plot their route to the final in Saint Petersburg on May 28. Much can change between now and February, when the Champions League resumes, but with the round of 16 fixtures now on the schedule, which clubs will make it through to the quarterfinals?
There was never going to be an easy option for Austrian champions Salzburg, but having been spared a tie against Liverpool because of the voided first draw, they ended up with Bayern Munich.Making their first appearance in the round of 16 after finishing as runners-up in Group G, Salzburg will be huge underdogs against the Bundesliga champions, who cruised into the knockout stages with six wins out of six in their group. Karim Adeyemi, a 19-year-old Munich-born forward, has scored four goals so far in this season’s competition for Salzburg and will be out to impress against his hometown club. U.S. international midfielder Brenden Aaronson is another key figure for Salzburg, having played in every UCL game this season.Reaching this stage is the big achievement for Salzburg, and it would be the biggest upset of the competition — bigger even than Sheriff Tiraspol‘s group-stage win at Real Madrid — if they eliminate Bayern. Julian Nagelsmann’s team were the favourites to win the Champions League before the draw was made, but they will be even stronger favourites now.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Bayern Munich
Sporting qualified for the round of 16 by denying Borussia Dortmund the runners-up spot behind Ajax in Group C, with a 3-1 home win against the Bundesliga team proving crucial. Ruben Amorim’s team have exceeded expectations by reaching this stage, however, and they are likely to be beaten comprehensively by City, who will ruthlessly exploit the Portuguese champions’ defensive weaknesses.
Sporting conceded nine goals in two games against Ajax, and City have far greater firepower than the Dutch champions. Midfielder Pedro Goncalves, with four goals in four UCL games, will be a threat for Sporting, as will centre-forward Paulinho, but this is a tie that will suit City, and it’s difficult to foresee any problems for Pep Guardiola’s team.
The only potential downside for City is that it will be a return to Estadio Jose Alvalade, where they suffered a surprise quarterfinal exit against Lyon during the COVID-19-affected final stages in 2020. Beyond a possible unlucky omen, there is nothing for City to worry about.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Manchester City
This will be an intriguing tie between Erik ten Hag’s exciting Ajax team and a Benfica team, once again coached by Jorge Jesus, that sent Barcelona crashing out at the group stage. Having won all six games in Group C, Ajax will go into this tie as favourites to reach the quarterfinals, though Benfica will be well-organised and confident of victory themselves.
Benfica’s experience could be the crucial factor, with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Nicolas Otamendi, Joao Mario and Rafa Silva all likely to be key men against Ajax. Striker Darwin Nunez will test Ajax, too. And despite their perennial reputation for fielding young sides, Ajax also have veterans who will play a big part in the outcome of the tie with the likes of Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen and Dusan Tadic.
If Otamendi and Vertonghen can keep Sebastien Haller — this season’s leading UCL scorer, with 10 goals — quiet over the two legs, Benfica will have the edge. It is a close tie to call, but don’t underestimate Benfica.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Benfica
Chelsea could have faced Bayern, Real Madrid or Ajax in the round of 16, but they pulled Lille out of the hat in both the voided draw and the real one — a nice bit of good fortune for last season’s Champions League winners. Having finished second in Group H behind Juventus, it could have been much worse for Chelsea, but coach Thomas Tuchel will expect his team to overcome the French champions.
Although Lille were the group winners whom most of the second-placed teams would have wanted to face, they remain a dangerous opponent. Despite losing coach Christophe Galtier to Marseille following last season’s Ligue 1 title success and having a tough time domestically this season, Lille have saved their best performances for the Champions League. Canada striker Jonathan David has scored three goals in six group games for Lille, while U.S. international Timothy Weah has appeared in four games so far.
Lille are a young team with potential, but Chelsea’s experience and quality are likely too much for Jocelyn Gourvennec’s team.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Chelsea
These two European heavyweights have been paired together just once before in UEFA competition, with Atletico beating United 4-1 over two legs in the European Cup Winners’ Cup second round in November 1991; this clash marks a new chapter in the Champions League for two clubs.Diego Simeone’s Atletico have made an unconvincing start to the defence of their Spanish title and sit fourth in LaLiga, 13 points behind leaders Real Madrid. They also snatched qualification on matchday six with a win against Porto that took them from bottom of Group B to second, behind Liverpool.Atletico are unpredictable, with Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Joao Felix being capable of hurting United if they perform to their best. But United are also a tough team to work out this season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked and replaced by interim manager Ralf Rangnick in November. They have the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, the pace of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford and the flair of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, but are susceptible in defence.This tie could ultimately come down to the goalkeepers, Atleti’s Jan Oblak and United’s David de Gea, the latter of whom will face his old club for the first time since moving to Old Trafford in 2011. If Rangnick can get United to click between now and February, they should win a close tie.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Manchester United
Villarreal vs. Juventus
Europa League champions Villarreal booked their place in the round of 16 with a weather-delayed victory against Atalanta in Bergamo on matchday six, but Unai Emery’s team have developed a habit of leaving it late to win.
Their penalty shootout victory over Manchester United in last season’s Europa League final earned them a place in the Champions League, and that win, combined with their performances in the group stages, proves Villarreal’s durability. Although they are inconsistent, Villarreal are well-organised under former Arsenal coach Emery, and they will be a tough opponent for a Juventus team that has struggled for form this season.
Juventus were well-beaten by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the group stage, and they struggled to 1-0 wins against Malmo and Zenit on the way to topping Group H. Massimiliano Allegri has the better squad, and forwards Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata, Moise Kean and Federico Chiesa should give Juventus the edge.This will be a hard-fought tie, and Villarreal know how to get the job done in Europe; of all the last-16 matches, this one could go all the way to penalties.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Villarreal
Inter Milan vs. Liverpool
Liverpool made it six wins out of six in Group B with a matchday six win against AC Milan at San Siro, but the 2019 Champions League winners can expect a tougher time against Inter.
Jurgen Klopp’s team will be strong favourites against Simone Inzaghi’s team, but Inter have more quality than AC in terms of taking advantage of any opportunities that Liverpool may present. Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko will be a threat up front for Inter, and they have experience in midfield with Nicolo Barella, Arturo Vidal and Marcelo Brozovic. Meanwhile, Samir Handanovic continues to be one of the best keepers in Europe.
Over two legs, Inter could make life difficult for Liverpool if Klopp’s squad is hit by injuries ahead of the tie. But while the Italian champions have the ability to hurt Liverpool, it would be tough to predict an Inter win at this stage.Liverpool will know they have been in a game, but they have so much depth that it would be a shock if they failed to make it through.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Liverpool
It’s the tie that neither club wanted, but it’s the price that Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG had to pay after finishing as runners-up in Group A behind Manchester City. This is a huge clash between two clubs that simply will not accept elimination at the round of 16, and it means one of the favourites for the competition will crash out.It is a clash between Real’s pedigree and winning mentality, albeit with a team that’s relying on the experience of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric, against a PSG side with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe forming arguably the best strike-force in the game. It throws up so many reunions, too, with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti up against his old team and Sergio Ramos, Angel di Maria and Keylor Navas set to face the club where they previously enjoyed repeated Champions League glory.The last time these teams met in Paris, PSG won 3-0 in the 2019-20 group stage, and they will need a victory to take to Madrid for the second leg. But this one is almost too close to call because both sides have weaknesses that can be exploited. It’ll be a case of which team is in the best form by the time the game comes around, but at this stage, PSG’s attacking depth makes them favourites.
WHO GOES THROUGH? Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League battle for fourth between Arsenal, Man United, Spurs, West Ham and Wolves
8:30 AM ET Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC
The Premier League title race may be almost a foregone conclusion thanks to Manchester City‘s dominance again this season — though Liverpool, 12 points behind ahead of Thursday’s clash with Leicester City, can still make it interesting with a lengthy winning run — but the battle for the fourth, and the final Champions League spot, is intensifying. Ahead of sixth-placed Arsenal‘s (36 points) trip to eighth-placed Wolves (34) on Thursday, only six points separate West Ham (40) in fourth with Wolves. Meanwhile, Arsenal, Wolves and seventh-placed Tottenham (36) have also all played three games fewer than David Moyes’ Hammers.
Manchester United (39), who sit fifth, are a point behind West Ham with a game in hand after failing to secure a win at Burnley on Tuesday. With Liverpool (48) and Chelsea (47) seemingly clear of the clubs scrambling to finish fourth, the race is shaping up to be a five-team battle.
United, Arsenal and Spurs have all suffered from inconsistency, poor form and, in the case of United and Spurs, managerial change this season, while West Ham and Wolves have proved to be serious contenders to upset their bigger and wealthier rivals.So with three months of the season still to play, how will the race for fourth play out? And which club will claim the final Champions League spot?
David Moyes’ team have won five of their last 12 Premier League games, but Tuesday’s 1-0 win at home to Watford saw them bounce back from successive losses against Leeds and Manchester United. The question mark above West Ham’s prospects relates to the depth of their squad and whether Moyes has enough quality within the ranks to cope with a top-four push as well as ongoing involvement in the Europa League and FA Cup.Despite a career that has seen Moyes largely deliver consistent top 10 finishes in the Premier League, the former Everton and Manchester United manager has never won a trophy and achieved just one top-four finish in over 20 years as a top-flight manager.So can Moyes successfully rotate his squad and overcome his traditionally cautious approach to deliver success in one of the three competitions that West Ham are still involved in? The fans will want a trophy, but Moyes will prioritise finishing in the Premier League top four. The inconsistency of their rivals will help, but prolonged involvement in the cups will work against them.
Where will they finish? 7th
With such an array of attacking quality — including Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford — United should have no concerns over a top-four finish, but their season has lurched from one low-point to another and there are plenty of pitfalls looming in the weeks ahead.
When interim manager Ralf Rangnick arrived to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December, United were about to embark on a run of 13 league games against teams beneath them in the table (with the exception of a home clash with West Ham). But, having now played nine of those, they have won just five and dropped points in draws against relegation-threatened Burnley and Newcastle. All of United’s star players are struggling and Rangnick has only been able to inspire a marginal improvement in the team’s performances. United will always possess the attacking threat to win matches, but they face a tough run-in, with trips to Manchester City and Liverpool next month and a potentially decisive fixture at Arsenal on April 23.With some daunting games ahead, it is difficult to see United putting a winning run together against the top sides, so they may need to prepare for life outside the Champions League under their new manager next season.
Where will they finish? 6th
Arsenal’s 17-year streak of Champions League participation came to an end when they failed to secure a top-four finish in 2016-17, and they have been absent from Europe’s premier competition ever since. But Mikel Arteta’s team are well placed to end their absence after overcoming their worst top-flight start in history this season.Arteta has made some big calls on transfers since replacing Unai Emery in December 2019, including offloading former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona for free last month, and the benefits are now beginning to be seen with a hungry, young side now emerging at the Emirates.A lack of goals could yet derail Arsenal — with youngsters Emile Smith Rowe (eight) and Bukayo Saka (six) their leading scorers in the league to date — and, prior to the trip to Wolves, the club had failed to score in four successive games in all competitions. But although the Gunners have their weaknesses, their fixture list is favourable and they have a clear run without cup distractions (having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest in the third round), so Arsenal are favourites to claim fourth place.
Where will they finish? 4th
Inconsistency has haunted Tottenham all season, and their 3-2 home defeat against Southampton on Wednesday, when they led 2-1 before conceding twice in the final 10 minutes, typified their campaign. Antonio Conte’s appointment as manager in November, following Nuno Espirito Santo’s 17-game spell in charge, has led to an improvement in performances and results. But after an unbeaten start to his reign in the Premier League, Conte has now seen his side lose successive league games and they have blown a great chance to climb into the top four and move clear of their rivals.Spurs have a tough run of fixtures coming up, with away games at Manchester City, Man United and Liverpool, so their recent loss of form could prove costly at the end of the season. But Conte will always inspire big performances from his players and should be able to rely on forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min to score against even the best opponents. Conte has a tough challenge ahead, though, and the damage done by the last two defeats may well prove to be significant enough to cost his side.
Where will they finish? 5th
After finishing 13th last season, a push for Champions League qualification under new manager Bruno Lage seemed unlikely this time around, but the former Benfica coach has quickly established his methods at Molineux and Wolves’ 1-0 win at Manchester United last month showcased their quality in midfield and ability to dominate against supposedly more illustrious opponents. But while Wolves are a technically impressive team, their lack of goals is likely to prevent them from seriously challenging for fourth spot.Ahead of Thursday’s encounter with Arsenal, Wolves had scored just 19 goals in 21 Premier League games — by far the lowest return of the top-four chasers. Only Burnley and Norwich, both in the bottom three, have scored fewer than Wolves. The flip side is that their record of conceding 16 league goals is second only to Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have shipped 14 goals in 24 games.The next five games are likely to be key to deciding Wolves’ fate: they play Arsenal twice and travel to Spurs and West Ham. Don’t expect many goals in any of them, but only if Wolves can emerge unbeaten from that run might they avoid missing out on Europe entirely.
Where will they finish? 8th
World Cup Games On Thanksgiving? You Better Believe It — Here’s The Full 2022 World Cup Schedule
THE FIRST EVER WINTER WORLD CUP WILL BE IN THE MORNINGS FOR MOST AMERICANS.
For Americans asking the all-important question of “when is the World Cup?” the answer is Nov. 21 through Dec. 18, 2022. Most of the games will be played in the morning, with the final kicking off at 10 a.m. ET. All games will be shown on FOX networks.Americans might find it hard to watch all the games with the World Cup being both in the winter and in Qatar. Those still in school will find it especially difficult to watch the World Cup this time around as students will be in class during most of the tournament.We won’t know the full schedule of who plays who until the World Cup draw in April 2022, but the full list of kick-off times has been released. If you’re worried about a game being played on a certain date, here are all the kickoff times and dates.
When Is The World Cup? Full Schedule
Group Stage (Monday, Nov. 21-Friday, Dec. 2)
The first week of the World Cup will see four games each day with every game having a different kickoff time.
Monday, Nov. 21-Monday, Nov. 28
Game 1: 5 a.m. ET
Game 2: 8 a.m. ET
Game 3: 11 a.m. ET
Game 4: 2 p.m. ET
The last four days of the group stage will be the final games played for each group. In order to keep things fair, kickoffs are at the same time for both games of a specific group. There will still be four games per day, however the schedule will look slightly different.
Tuesday, Nov. 29-Friday, Dec. 2
Game 1: 10 a.m. ET
Game 2: 10 a.m. ET
Game 3: 2 p.m. ET
Game 4: 2 p.m. ET
Round of 16 (Saturday, Dec. 3-Tuesday, Dec. 6)
The start of the knockout stages will last for four days, with two games each day.
Game 1: 10 a.m. ET
Game 2: 2 p.m. ET
Quarterfinals (Friday, Dec. 9-Saturday, Dec. 10)
The quarterfinals will have two games played each day.
Game 1: 10 a.m. ET
Game 2: 2 p.m. ET
Semifinals (Tuesday, Dec. 13-Wednesday, Dec. 14)
The semifinals will have one game played each day.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET
Final (Saturday, Dec. 17)
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
Your cheat sheet to MLS opponents in Concacaf Champions League Round of 16
By MLSsoccer staff @mls
Thursday, Feb 10, 2022, 10:50 AM
The 2022 Concacaf Champions League is here, with five MLS clubs competing in the Round of 16 just before the new campaign gets underway.
Sorted by opponent in alphabetical order, here’s what awaits those vying to become the league’s first modern-day CCL winner and book a spot at the FIFA Club World Cup.
As a reminder, the five MLS teams competing are New York City FC (MLS Cup winner), New England Revolution (Supporters’ Shield winner), CF Montréal (Canadian Championship winner), Colorado Rapids (Western Conference regular-season winner) and Seattle Sounders FC (next-best MLS regular-season record) – all by virtue of their 2021 performances.
Where Cavaly play: Haiti | Ligue Haïtienne
MLS opponent: New England Revolution
How they got here
The Haitian side is making their first-ever Concacaf Champions League appearance, which they clinched by virtue of their victory in the 2021 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship over Suriname’s Inter Moengo Tapoe.
Cavaly are one of 18 clubs that compete in Haiti’s Ligue Haïtienne, with one league title to their name in 2007. They’re the fifth different Haitian club to appear in the CCL.
Who to watch for
- Emmanuel Saint-Felix: Sure to be busy in the Cavaly net, the 27-year-old was named Golden Glove winner of the Caribbean Club Championship as the competition’s top goalkeeper.
- Roody Joseph: If Joseph can carry his Caribbean Club Championship form forward, the dynamic forward could pose a sneaky challenge to New England’s backline.
- Dutherson Clerveaux: This central midfielder is a rock in central park for Cavaly, setting the tempo and stringing together passes. A similar description applies to defender Emerson Tibert.
When to watch
- Leg 1: Feb. 15 vs. New England | 6 pm ET at Gillette Stadium
- Leg 2: Feb. 22 vs. New England | 6 pm ET at Gillette Stadium
Where Comunicaciones play: Guatemala | Liga Nacional
MLS opponent: Colorado Rapids
How they got here
One of the most storied clubs in Guatemala, Comunicaciones are making their seventh CCL appearance and first since 2020. Comunicaciones qualified after winning last year’s Concacaf League and staging a dramatic comeback in the two-leg final over Motagua, setting up their Round of 16 bout with Colorado.
Who to watch for
- Juan Luis Anangonó: Ecuadorian striker who led the charge in that victorious SCL run with six goals, winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards. Anangonó is a former Designated Player for Chicago Fire FC.
- Nicolás Samayoa: Former New England Revolution SuperDraft selection (fourth round, 2018) who features at center back for Los Cremas.
- José Manuel Contreras: Club captain who has been capped 80 times by Guatemala. The 36-year-old is back for his second run at Comunicaciones after time at fellow Liga Nacional side Antigua.
When to watch
- Leg 1: Feb. 17 vs. Colorado Rapids | 7 pm ET at Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores
- Leg 2: Feb. 23 vs. Colorado Rapids | 8:30 pm ET at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Where Motagua play: Honduras | Liga Nacional
MLS opponent: Seattle Sounders FC
How they got here
Seattle drew the Honduran side for their Round of 16 matchup, booking an opponent that’s making a sixth all-time CCL appearance. Motagua also qualified by virtue of their performance in last year’s Concacaf League, finishing as the runner-up to punch their ticket.
This marks Motagua’s first appearance in CCL since 2020, when they were eliminated in the Round of 16.
Who to watch for
- Marcelo Pereira: Anchors the backline for Motagua. The 26-year-old center back, who has been capped 22 times by Honduras, was named to the 2021 Concacaf League Team of the Tournament.
- Omar Elvir: Midfield staple for Motagua, accumulating over 300 appearances for the historic club. Earned a handful of international appearances for Los Catrachos.
- Roberto Moreira: Veteran striker from Paraguay who is arguably Motagua’s most dangerous scoring threat.
When to watch
- Leg 1: Feb. 17 vs. Seattle Sounders FC | 10 pm ET at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano
- Leg 2: Feb. 24 vs. Seattle Sounders FC | 10:30 pm ET at Lumen Field
Where Santos de Guápiles play: Costa Rica | Primera División
MLS opponent: New York City FC
How they got here
The CCL debutants from Costa Rica, who face defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC, qualified as the second best-ranked losing quarterfinalist in the 2021 Concacaf League. They’re coming off a 2021 season that saw them finish second in Costa Rica’s Primera División Clausura portion.
Santos de Guápiles are the eighth different team from Costa Rica to compete in the CCL.
Who to watch for
- Osvaldo Rodriguez: Wears the captain’s armband for Rojiblancos and was named to the 2021 Concacaf League Team of the Tournament. The 31-year-old midfielder had two goals and three assists in the competition.
- Kevin Ruiz: Veteran goalkeeper who’s proved immovable since his arrival from fellow Costa Rican top-flight side Municipal Grecia.
- Juan Diego Madrigal: This center back is critical in Santos’ spine and has been a pillar along their backline for the past half-decade.
When to watch
- Leg 1: Feb. 15 vs. NYCFC | 8 pm ET at Estadio Nacional
- Leg 2: Feb. 23 vs. NYCFC | 6 pm ET at Banc of California Stadium
Where Santos Laguna play: Mexico | Liga MX
MLS opponent: CF Montréal
How they got here
Montréal’s Round of 16 opponent booked their ticket as the 2021 Torneo Guardianes runners-up and are among the most experienced sides in this year’s competition, with seven CCL appearances since making their debut in 2008-09. Santos Laguna are making their first CCL appearance since 2019 when they made a run to the semifinals.
Santos also finished as the tournament runner-up in 2011-12 and 2012-13. They’re the highest-scoring club in the history of the competition, with 140 goals across 58 matches and have been dominant on their home field, with a 19-game home unbeaten streak going into this year’s campaign.
Who to watch for
- Fernando Gorriarán: Gorriarán has been capped four times by Uruguay after making his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela in June. The midfielder is consistently among Santos Laguna’s most dangerous players.
- Carlos Acevedo: Rising Mexican international goalkeeper who was developed in Santos Laguna’s academy system before becoming their entrenched No. 1.
- Dória: This 27-year-old Brazilian center back is Santos Laguna’s defensive leader, arriving several years ago with experience from Marseille (France’s Ligue 1) and Botafogo (Brazil’s Serie A).
When to watch
- Leg 1: Feb. 15 vs. CF Montréal | 10 pm ET at Estadio Corona
- Leg 2: Feb. 22 vs. CF Montréal | 8:30 pm ET at Stade Olympique
USWNT, USMNT pay gap explained: Comparing their U.S. Soccer contracts as both sides negotiate new CBAs
9:38 AM ETCaitlin Murray
The U.S. men and women are negotiating their CBAs with U.S. Soccer at the same time, and while they won’t come away with a joint deal, the hope for the players is that a lot of the key points are similar.
When the U.S. women’s national team and the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement back in 2017, it seemed like a relief for both sides at the time. The USWNT’s previous contract had expired months prior, and the players had considered going on strike earlier in the process but worried about how it could affect the National Women’s Soccer League, which the USWNT players were obligated to play in. With a CBA finally done, it appeared everyone could move on.But that’s not really what happened. In 2019, the players sued U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination over the compensation and other non-monetary issues — much of what was in the CBA they signed in 2017. The players have maintained that they asked in those negotiations for the same contract the men get, but U.S. Soccer dismissed the idea outright, leaving them with no choice but to accept an unequal contract so they could keep playing. The federation denies that happened, but what’s clear is that the CBA the federation signed for the women in 2017 and remains in effect today is very different from the men’s CBA — and that has been a big problem for U.S. Soccer, both because of the bad publicity it has generated and because of the equal pay lawsuit that is still working its way through the legal system.With the USWNT’s CBA set to expire on March 31 after agreeing to a three-month extension, and USMNT still operating on a CBA that technically expired on Dec. 31, 2018, both sides are negotiating for new contracts.Whether the USWNT and the USMNT are willing to accept a joint contract — and it appears for now they are not — it’s clear there are plenty of differences to reconcile to eliminate the large disparities in the current deals. To make the two teams’ contracts more similar, who benefits and who loses out?
Two different contract structures
Every CBA for either team is traditionally built on previous CBAs, and the next ones will be no different. While there are a lot of ways the current contracts between the USWNT and the USMNT are similar, each team prioritized different things when negotiating, resulting in different deals overall.The USWNT players, for instance, surprised U.S. Soccer negotiators in 2017 when they announced they would take control of the licensing and sponsorship rights that U.S. Soccer had controlled in previous CBAs. The players felt U.S. Soccer wasn’t maximizing their marketability, so the USWNT launched its own commercial arm, signing licensing deals and collecting royalties without U.S. Soccer’s involvement. In the USMNT’s CBA, however, the men continued to let U.S. Soccer sign such deals on the players’ behalf, with the revenue split between the federation and the USMNT.
The men’s CBA also makes no mention of health insurance, unlike the women’s CBA, which guarantees it. The federation often cites this in arguing the women get better perks, but in actuality, the women get health insurance through the U.S. Olympic Committee since the women are considered Olympic athletes and the men aren’t, per FIFA rules. U.S. Soccer only pays the taxes for that health insurance, as stipulated in the CBA, and it’s only worth about $1,500 per year per player.At the same time, both teams have essentially the same language around hotel accommodations: The teams and the federation produce a shortlist of preferred hotels in given geographic locations, which the federation is supposed to choose from. If the federation doesn’t choose from the list, it “will explain its rationale to the Players Association,” according to the language in both contracts.The biggest difference between the two contracts — and the one that has caused the most tension — is how the players get paid. Some of the players on the women’s team get salaries, regardless of games played, but no players on the men’s team do.First, it’s important to understand why this big difference exists. Year-round salaries were first introduced by U.S. Soccer for the USWNT in their 2005 CBA, when women’s national team had very few club options: They faced the choice of playing soccer for their country with no financial stability, or getting other jobs to earn a better living. Working an office job and playing soccer wasn’t feasible: When monthlong tournaments came around, like a World Cup, players usually had to quit their jobs or be fired.Every USWNT contract since 2005 has been built upon that basic salary structure, but in their last CBA, the USWNT players took a step away from it. The number of players eligible for salaries went down over the life of the contract, while the number of non-salaried players who rely exclusively on call-up fees, roster appearance fees and performance bonuses increased. Salaried players earn $100,000 per year, regardless of playing in games, while non-salaried players earn between $3,250 and $4,500 per game, depending on the year of the contract and the “tier” of the player.
|YEAR||SALARIED USWNT||BASE COST|
Players on the USMNT, meanwhile, are paid only based on call-ups, game appearances and performance bonuses. A player earns $5,000 for making a game roster, which means that for a typical 23-player roster, U.S. Soccer sets aside $115,000 per game as base pay.In other words, U.S. Soccer does set aside a guaranteed pot of money for the men, but only if they play games. If not for the USMNT failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup or the pandemic, the USMNT probably would’ve played more games in 2018 and 2020, which would’ve meant more game-appearance fees and a much higher base pay for the USMNT over those years.
|YEAR||USMNT GAMES||BASE COST|
When U.S. Soccer says it has offered the USWNT the same contract structure that the USMNT has — something neither side disputes — it means that it offered to eliminate salaries for the women and provide the per-game fee and bonus structure. But what the USWNT has argued, both in the court of public opinion and in legal filings, is that U.S. Soccer never offered the same dollar amounts for such performance bonuses.
Performance bonus pay gap
Most games that either team plays in a given calendar year have traditionally been friendly games, even in years with a major tournament. The men’s calendar is becoming more congested with the new CONCACAF Nations League on top of the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying, making less room for friendlies, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated that trend by forcing important games to be squeezed into fewer international windows. Due to fewer international tournaments on the women’s calendar, the USWNT plays more friendlies, but either way, friendly bonuses figure to be a major source of income for both teams going forward.Both teams structure their friendly bonuses in a similar fashion. They each set three tiers of opponents — for the women, the top opponents are ranked 1-4 in FIFA’s world rankings and 1-10 for the men, which reflects the greater number of competitive teams on the men’s side. Mid-tier opponents are 5-8 for the women and 11-25 for the men, with the bottom tier consisting of all teams after that. Both the USMNT and USWNT receive top bonuses for beating their biggest rivals: Canada for the women and Mexico for the men.The top end and low end of the bonuses are both significantly higher for the men. The highest friendly bonus for the men, $17,625 for beating a top-tier team, is more than double the women’s highest bonus, $8,500 for beating a top-tier team. The men each get a bonus of $6,250 just for tying a bottom-tier team, while the women get $0 for the same thing.
Each team is also entitled to exclusive bonuses because the two teams don’t play in the same tournaments. For instance, the USWNT can earn $500,000 as a team for qualifying for the Olympics, although it doesn’t get any bonuses for winning individual Olympic qualifying games. If it wins a gold medal, that’s worth a $100,000 bonus per player, while silver is $55,000 and bronze is $25,000. Since the senior men’s team doesn’t compete in the Olympics — the men’s tournament is limited to U-23 teams, with three overage exceptions, to avoid conflict with the FIFA World Cup — no such bonuses exist in its contract.The men do, however, get bonuses for competing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Winning games during the tournament can be worth as much as $17,625 per player, and winning the Gold Cup is worth $11,250 per player. The women compete in a CONCACAF Gold Cup, too, but they aren’t entitled to individual game bonuses for the tournament unless it doubles as the qualifying tournament for the World Cup.
The widening World Cup divide
For all the differences in the USWNT and USMNT contracts, the bonuses offered for World Cup performances are where the split becomes the starkest, and it’s no surprise that much of the USWNT’s ongoing equal pay lawsuit focuses on these numbers.The tone is set during World Cup qualifying, when the men earn $2.5 million as a team for qualifying and the women earn only $750,000 for the same thing. During World Cup qualifiers, the men can earn up to $18,125 per player in the final round for each win, but the women get only $3,000 per player for each win.But it’s once the tournament begins when the largest gaps emerge. While the women start cashing in if they finish in third place ($575,000 for the team) and they can share $2.53 million if they win the whole thing, the men collect handsome rewards for every stage of the tournament before the final. Reaching the round of 16 alone is worth $4.5 million for the USMNT, the quarterfinal round is worth $5 million, and the semifinal is $5.625 million. That’s all before the $9.375 million bonus in the USMNT’s contract with U.S. Soccer if they win the World Cup.
It’s impossible to look at World Cup bonuses without examining the prize money from FIFA, the governing body of global soccer and the organizer of World Cups. Even though U.S. Soccer sets its own World Cup bonuses, FIFA prize money looms in the background.In the last World Cup cycle, FIFA offered a prize of $38 million to the team that won the men’s World Cup in 2018 (France), and just $4 million to the team that won the women’s tournament in 2019 (the USWNT). In all, FIFA offered a total of $400 million for the men’s World Cup and just $30 million for the women’s tournament.(There is a popular bit of misinformation for why this discrepancy exists: a fake number has circulated claiming that the Women’s World Cup brings in $131 million in revenue for FIFA while the men’s World Cup brings in $6 billion. This is false, and FIFA itself has confirmed it because FIFA sells sponsorships and broadcast rights for all of its World Cup events as a single bundle, making Women’s World Cup revenue unknowable. Why FIFA refuses to offer equal prize money — it has recently widened the gap rather than narrowing it — is unclear, but it’s also irrelevant for the purpose of U.S. Soccer negotiating CBAs with its national teams because U.S. Soccer can’t control that.)U.S. Soccer likes to blame FIFA for the size of the World Cup bonuses in the USWNT’s contract, but it’s worth noting something important: U.S. Soccer has never opted to base its bonuses for the USWNT or the USMNT directly on FIFA prize money. The bouses in their current contracts are not a percentage of FIFA’s payouts. Instead, U.S. Soccer has chosen its own bonuses to offer both teams, which sometimes deviate from FIFA’s prize money.For instance, in U.S. Soccer’s CBA with the USMNT, the men get $218,750 per point won in the group stage of a World Cup, with a maximum payout of $1,968,750. This is a bonus U.S. Soccer concocted — it has no direct correlation to FIFA prize money, which is awarded based on which round of the tournament that teams reach.Under the current USMNT and USWNT contracts, if FIFA stopped offering prize money for World Cups altogether, the federation would still owe the millions of dollars promised if the teams won. By the same token — and what U.S. Soccer was likely expecting — if FIFA’s prize money drastically increased, U.S. Soccer wouldn’t have to pay all of it out to the teams and could pocket the extra.This where the probability of each teams’ success at a World Cup comes into play.Former U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, on a conference call after the USWNT filed an initial wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016, was asked whether the women “deserve to be paid equally” to the men’s team. In his answer, he said a lot of factors go into how the players are paid, including “the track record of teams” and “incentives.” By Gulati’s admission, it was easier to offer the men top-end bonuses that U.S. Soccer believed it would probably never have to pay.Historically, any World Cup bonuses U.S. Soccer offered the men beyond a certain point were as good as Monopoly money — there was almost no chance the men would collect the bonuses. Each team’s record in the four World Cup cycles before the teams negotiated each of their current contracts made that clear, and neither team could’ve predicted it during negotiations, but the men wouldn’t even end up qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
Capturing the peak of the upside
Performance bonuses can reward players for their on-field success, but what about when on-field success translates into unprecedented commercial success? When the USWNT won the World Cup in 2015, their contract didn’t allow them to reap any extra rewards.When three-star USWNT jerseys were flying off the shelves, that money didn’t go to the players. When the USWNT set an attendance record for a standalone friendly six weeks after the World Cup, drawing more than 44,000 people to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, they still got the same small cut of ticket sales. The USWNT was more popular than ever, and U.S. Soccer ended up with a $17 million windfall thanks to it, but the players did not.”I thought it was bulls—,” then-USWNT defender Meghan Klingenberg later explained. “All these people are making money from our likeness and our faces and our value, but we’re not. We’re only getting money from our winnings, and that doesn’t seem right.”The USWNT was unable to cash in on the peak of its popularity at the time, and it prompted the team to change two things in its current CBA when it negotiated it in 2017. The first was taking control of the image rights to launch its own licensing program, so players’ names and likenesses could be featured on everything from socks to NFTs with the players getting a cut. The second was the addition of provisions designed to capture the upside of unprecedented growth.Both the USWNT and the USMNT get $1.50 from each ticket sold for U.S. Soccer-hosted games, but now the USWNT players get boost from brisk sales. After 17,000 tickets are sold, they get an extra 7.5% per average ticket price, and a $15,000 bonus when games sell out. Although U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing are dissolving their partnership next year, SUM has been responsible for selling broadcast rights for national team games, as well as sponsorships for the teams, and the USWNT wanted a cut when SUM performed better than expected, too. That came in the form of a bonus: whenever SUM generated more than $26.5 million in gross revenue each year, the USWNT would get 10% of it.The USMNT has never concerned itself with capturing that kind of upside because, in part, the USMNT has never experienced an explosion in popularity the same way the USWNT has. But now as the teams work on new contracts that will be more similar than in the past, the question will be: Which parts of each contract should be kept, and which parts shouldn’t? The teams’ current CBAs are the starting point for negotiations and will ultimately help decide what their new CBAs will ultimately look like.The USWNT has until March 31, the new expiration date on their current CBA, to figure it all out. If not, the CBA will roll over and they will play on an expired contract — but they would no longer be bound by their CBA’s no-strike clause. The men’s team, meanwhile, will continue to play on their years-expired contract until they sign a new deal with the federation and, just as they almost did last year, they can go on strike at any time.
USWNT’s Rapinoe, Morgan: U.S. Soccer ‘stood by’ as players were abused by coaches
5:09 PM ETCaitlin Murray
The biggest stars on the U.S. women’s national team have accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of having “failed to do the bare minimum” and “willful inaction” in protecting players from abusive coaches in a letter released on Wednesday.
“USSF had the obligation to protect its players — yet it stood by as abuse continued to occur unchecked,” the players said in the letter provided to ESPN. “For starters, USSF should have immediately removed coaching licenses from abusers. Instead, USSF allowed those individuals to coach while saying it would investigate. USSF failed to do the bare minimum — to keep us and the young girls who play in the youth leagues safe.”and other veteran players on the USWNT, comes after multiple reports of sexual and emotional abuse from National Women’s Soccer League coaches who had been flagged to the federation but still were allowed to keep coaching.U.S. Soccer founded the NWSL and managed it up until last year, and oversees the licensing of all youth and professional coaches in the United States. The letter was sent to current U.S. Soccer president Cindy arlow Cone and former president Carlos Cordeiro, who is running against Parlow Cone for the presidency in an election next month.On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that former Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames had groomed teenagers for sex when he was a youth coach and one player reported his advances to police in 1998. Dames later went on to coach for the Red Stars in the NWSL, and in 2018 USWNT striker Christen Press filed a formal complaint to U.S. Soccer alleging emotionally abusive behavior from Dames.The federation did not suspend his coaching license or remove him from the league after the complaint in 2018. Dames resigned as coach of the Red Stars in November after the Post found out about the complaint and spoke to NWSL players who also alleged abusive behavior.”The allegations documented in The Washington Post on Tuesday — of systemic, egregious, and horrifying abuse of young girls by their soccer coaches — are sickening,” said the letter, which Press also signed. “But what is worse is that this is yet another instance where the willful inaction of USSF’s leadership jeopardized the health and safety of its players.”Over the years, while we played on the USWNT and in the National Women’s Soccer League, many of us reported to USSF instances where, as adults, we experienced abusive conduct by our coaches. Now we have learned that this abusive treatment also was repeatedly reported by minors and that USSF failed to respond to protect these young players. That is utterly disheartening.”In addition to Rapinoe, Morgan, Lloyd and Press, the letter was signed by Crystal Dunn, Tobin Heath, Samantha Mewis, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn.The revelations about Dames’ past follow the shocking public allegations in September that two former Portland Thorns players had been sexually harassed and coerced by former coach Paul Riley while they played under him in the NWSL. One player filed a formal complaint in 2015 with the Thorns front office, but he was allowed to keep coaching in the NWSL for years afterward. The Thorns said they would investigate how they handled the complaint, but they ended the investigation last month without interviewing any players.U.S. Soccer said it was launching its own independent investigation run by former acting attorney general Sally Yates, which remains ongoing. The players in their letter Wednesday demanded the results of that investigation, as well as “full transparency and accountability.”
“Last year, many of our colleagues courageously spoke out about the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse they suffered during their time in the NWSL,” the letter said. “Their bravery sparked an important reckoning and reflection in our sport, both here and abroad. But these players never should have had to turn to the press to protect themselves and future generations.”We are writing to you today, on behalf of thousands of little girls across our country who play in the youth leagues, to demand full transparency and accountability in addressing these systemic problems. Where are the results of the investigation that you are spending USSF time and resources conducting?
“Has the investigation being conducted by Ms. Yates yielded any of this information that players are forced to report to media because you have not released the information or taken any action related to it? Do players experience fear of continued reprisals and retribution from USSF? Most importantly, what steps will you take to make sure that every girl and woman can play soccer safely in the USSF and the NWSL?”The players added: “We demand that USSF release the full findings of its investigation in a timely manner and commit to enacting meaningful institutional reforms to protect players. We will not stop fighting until we can ensure that this sport is safe for ourselves, for our daughters, and for every little girl who cheers us on and dreams of one day playing the sport we all love.”In a statement sent to ESPN on Tuesday, a spokesman for U.S. Soccer said the federation’s “new leadership” of Parlow Cone and CEO Will Wilson, who both took charge in 2020, was waiting for a report from Yates.”We share the concerns from the USWNT players about allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct,” the federation statement said.”U.S. Soccer’s new leadership is focused on creating a safe space for all athletes who love this sport to learn, grow and compete, which is why we took the important step of retaining former U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general of the United States Sally Q. Yates to conduct an independent investigation and have given her full autonomy, access and the necessary resources to follow the facts and evidence wherever they may lead.”We are looking forward to the report from Ms. Yates and her team, and are committed to making those findings public.”Cordeiro, who was president of U.S. Soccer at the time Press filed her complaint about Dames, said in a statement provided to ESPN that he will respond to the players.”The allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are horrific and have no place in soccer,” his statement said. “I learned about these allegations from The Washington Post article in November 2021. I received the letter from the women’s players today, and I’m in the process of responding to it.”Everyone — especially the players who have been mistreated, abused and traumatized — deserve the results of the Sally Yates investigation as soon as possible. But U.S. Soccer doesn’t have to wait for the investigation to act. I agree with our women’s players that U.S. Soccer should take immediate actions to make sure that all players are protected and nothing like this ever happens again.”Parlow Cone’s campaign spokesman referred ESPN to the statement issued by U.S. Soccer.Cordeiro stepped down from his position at the helm of U.S. Soccer in 2020 amid public backlash and sponsor pressure after U.S. Soccer used sexist arguments to defend itself in the equal pay lawsuit filed by USWNT players. He announced his intention to run for the position again last month against Parlow Cone, and the electio will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting on March 5.The players in the letter cited promises from both Parlow Cone and Cordeiro to move the federation forward, but the players said that’s not possible without accountability.”In both of your campaign platforms to be re-elected as presidents of USSF, you discussed the need to look forward, not back,” the players said. “But without true accountability for the past, there is no promising future. For years, you allowed coaches and owners to rampantly abuse players.”This unchecked and unpunished power endangered the safety, well-being, and careers of far too many women and girls. We suffered so that you could protect your bottom line. To rebuild the trust of players, fans, and sponsors — to move forward — USSF must show that it is serious about change.”
PRESEASON RECAP | INDY ELEVEN 7:0 MARIAN UNIV.
By Indy Eleven Communications, 02/09/22, 1:00PM EST
Six different Boys in Blue tally in impressive preseason debut
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Wednesday, February 9, 2022) – Indy Eleven made an impressive preseason debut under Head Coach Mark Lowry, with six different players tallying in a 7-0 exhibition victory over the Marian University Knights. The 60-minute affair took place at the Grand Park Event Center, where the Boys in Blue are headquartered for their 2022 preseason across the next month, leading up to their USL Championship Regular Season opener on March 11 at Loudoun United FC.
Last year’s leading scorer for Indiana’s Team, forward Manuel Arteaga, was active in the early going, drawing a foul 25 yards out just 90 seconds in to set up his own free kick that forced a diving save by the Knights ‘keeper. Three minutes later the Venezuelan would tap in from the doorstep on a play set up by midfielder Nicky Law’s back post cross that was headed across frame by Stefano Pinho. Law nearly had a goal of his own a minute later, but his shot was repelled by a fine kick save by Marian’s netminder off his line.
In the 14th minute, midfielder Raul Aguilera’s probing through ball down the right flank set up Indy’s first half guest midfielder for a cross that found Pinho at the back post, but another kick save kept him off the board. Two minutes later it was another crafty long ball – this time a diagonal by Arteaga – that set up the trialist midfielder behind the backline, and his sturdy finish from ten yards doubled the Eleven advantage.Quality chances in the subsequent minutes by defender Noah Powder and Pinho missed the target, while midfielder Sam Brown saw his swerving shot from 30 yards parried away. In the 26th minute some nice build-up play down the right flank helped Arteaga set up another trialist for a goal, his cutback from the endline finding the guest defender inside the six where his redirect made it through traffic for Indy’s third.
Said guest defender, Pinho and Aguilera were the only lineup holdovers to begin the second half hour for Lowry’s squad, which again came out the aggressor and held play primarily in the Knights’ half of the field. It was Pinho nearly heading home in the 35th minute off defender Alex McQueen’s clipped off cross to the six, but the chance flashed just left of target. In the 41st a McQueen pass indeed paid dividends when he found Aris Briggs at the right post, where the forward’s close range shot hit the goalkeeper, popped high in the air, and finally spun in to push the Eleven lead to 4-0.
Indy’s second half guest goalkeeper was forced into service in the 44th minute, when he did well to bat away a heavy free kick from 25 yards out. Right after, the Boys in Blue went straight down the field to score their fifth, with another nifty dish from McQueen inside the area setting up Pinho, the Brazilian getting on the board via a flicked finish that marked the last touch of his day. In the 51st minute, another of Indy’s guest midfielders took advantage of a turnover in the final third and finished from the top of the penalty arc, pushing the lead to 6-0. McQueen finished off his hat trick of helpers in the 57th minute, his cross from the right finding Briggs for a headed finish at the far post to end the scoring at 7-0.
Today’s contest was the first of eight planned exhibition contests for Indiana’s Team this preseason, which will continue against another local collegiate outfit, the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds, this Saturday, Feb. 12, at Grand Park.
2022 Spring Preseason Exhibition
Indy Eleven 7 : 0 Marian University
Wednesday, February 9, 2021 – 11:00 a.m. ET
Grand Park Events Center – Westfield, Ind.
IND– Manuel Arteaga (Stefano Pinho) 5’
IND – Guest Midfielder #1 (Manuel Arteaga) 16’
IND – Guest Defender (Manuel Arteaga) 26’
IND – Aris Briggs (Alex McQueen) 41’
IND – Stefano Pinho (Alex McQueen) 45’
IND – Guest Midfielder #4 (unassisted) 51’
IND – Aris Briggs (Alex McQueen) 57’
Indy Eleven 1st half (1’-30’) lineup (4-4-2): Guest GK #1; Noah Powder, Jared Timmer, Karl Ouimette, Guest DF; Nicky Law, Sam Brown, Guest MF #1, Raul Aguilera; Manuel Arteaga, Stefano Pinho
Indy Eleven 2nd half (31’-60’) lineup (4-4-2): Guest GK #2; Guest DF #1, AJ Cochran, Mechack Jerome, Alex McQueen; Guest MF #2, Neveal Hackshaw, Guest MF #3, Raul Aguilera (Guest MF #4, 45’); Aris Briggs, Stefano Pinho (Manuel Arteaga 45’)
Indy 11 Home Clash vs. Reigning Champs Orange County SC to Air on ESPN Deportes & all the games on ESPN+
5:00 p.m. ET Kickoff at IUPUI Carroll Stadium One of 19 USL Championship Regular Season Games on ESPN’s Linear Broadcast Schedule;
All Other 33 Indy Eleven Games to Air Live on ESPN+ as Part of 700+ Match Championship and USL League One Streaming Slate;
Kickoff Times for Full 34-game Regular Season Calendar Finalized
TAMPA/INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, January 27, 2022) – The United Soccer League today announced its 2022 USL on ESPN national telecast schedule, bringing marquee Championship matches and the League One Final to millions of homes throughout the new campaign. Combined with nearly 700 Championship and League One games on ESPN+, USL fans can watch the entire regular season, playoffs, and finals for both leagues on ESPN platforms.This year’s 19-match slate on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes nearly triples the USL’s linear presence since 2018. The schedule features intriguing rivalry and interconference matchups at some of the country’s best soccer cities – including Indy Eleven welcoming reigning USL Championship title holder Orange County SC to IUPUI Carroll Stadium on Sunday, April 24, for a 5:00 p.m. ET kickoff that will air on ESPN Deportes.In addition to its national broadcast slate, the USL Championship also confirmed kickoff times for all 459 contests that will comprise the league’s regular season. Fourteen of the team’s 15 Saturday dates at Carroll Stadium will kick at 7:00 p.m. – the lone exception being a 4:00 p.m. start for the team’s “Indy 500 Eve” fixture against New Mexico United on May 28 – while both Sunday affairs at “The Mike” (said April 28 vs. Orange County and Sept. 25 against Loudoun United FC) are set for 5:00 p.m. Indy Eleven’s local television broadcast schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.The full 2022 Indy Eleven regular season schedule with kickoff times can be found below and at indyeleven.com/2022-schedule, which is always where the most up-to-date version of the schedule will be posted. In addition, a one-page PDF version of the club’s 2022 schedule can be downloaded here.The 2022 USL Championship Final airs on Sunday, November 13 at 9:00 p.m., (network to be announced), bringing the curtain down on the league’s 12th season prior to the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 21.
Indy Eleven 2022 USL Championship Regular Season Schedule
Home teams listed first; home games at IUPUI Carroll Stadium in bold
Local broadcast information to be announced later
Dates & times subject to change; visit indyeleven.com/2022-schedule for latest details
Saturday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET | Loudoun United FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Louisville City FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, April 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. LA Galaxy II | ESPN+
Saturday, April 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET | Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Atlanta United 2 | ESPN+
Sunday, April 24 at 5:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Orange County SC | ESPN Deportes
Saturday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Hartford Athletic | ESPN+
Saturday, May 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET | Memphis 901 FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. New York Red Bulls II | ESPN+
Saturday, May 28 at 4:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. New Mexico United | ESPN+
Saturday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Charleston Battery vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Wednesday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET | The Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Louisville City FC | ESPN+
Saturday, June 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET | Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, June 25 at 10:00 p.m. ET | San Diego Loyal SC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. The Miami FC | ESPN+
Wednesday, July 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Detroit City FC | ESPN+
Friday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m. ET | New York Red Bulls II vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, July 23 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Memphis 901 FC | ESPN+
Saturday, July 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies | ESPN+
Saturday, August 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC | ESPN+
Saturday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Hartford Athletic vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, August 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET | FC Tulsa vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. San Antonio FC | ESPN+
Saturday, September 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Detroit City FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, September 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET |Indy Eleven vs. Birmingham Legion FC | ESPN+
Saturday, September 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET | Monterey Bay F.C. vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Sunday, September 25 at 5:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Loudoun United FC | ESPN+
Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Atlanta United 2 vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+
Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. FC Tulsa | ESPN+
Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET | Indy Eleven vs. Charleston Battery | ESPN+
Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Birmingham Legion FC vs. Indy Eleven | ESPN+